I am pleased to have been awarded a 5 year University Research Fellowship by the Royal Society. These Royal Society awards are for early career scientists and provide me the opportunity to build an independent research career and become a leading name of the future in his field.
The title of my research fellowship is ‘The Rise of Mountains’, and I will be building on my current expertise in analysing individual faults and earthquake to determine whether entire mountains are growing or collapsing, and understand how the movement of tectonic plates causes this.
In order to address these questions, I will measure the speed at which mountains are growing across vast regions, focusing on The Tien Shan in Central Asia. I will be exploiting the huge increase and improved quality of space-based datasets now being acquired systematically across the globe and combine this data with information from GPS. In comparing these measurements with computer models, it will be possible to test the behaviour of the Earth’s crust and the physical laws that govern deformation over time.
As well as providing enhanced understanding of the mechanisms of tectonics it will also allow better determination of where people are exposed to earthquake hazard by increasing our ability to recognise the distribution of deformation along fault lines. The settlements that I will be researching were only small towns and villages when the last cluster of earthquakes struck – they are now towering cities, where millions of vulnerable people are exposed to the seismic hazard in these economically developing countries.